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Alberta manufacturing continues to climb

Alberta manufacturing continues to climb

Posted on: 9/18/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​One of the key indicators of economic health is manufacturing shipments. And according to the latest data released by Statistics Canada, the level of activity is nearly back to where it was before the recession.

In July, the value of shipments from all manufacturers in Alberta was $6.57 billion (adjusted for seasonality). This is an increase of 1.7 per cent from the previous month and a massive jump of nearly 14 per cent from a year ago. From the low point in March of 2015, shipments are up 34 per cent (see graph).

Much of the increase in manufacturing activity over the past few years has been driven by refined petroleum. Even compared to a year ago, the value of refined petroleum is up 40 per cent, mostly due to rising prices for refined products. Refined petroleum products account for roughly a quarter of Alberta’s total manufacturing activity.

But other sectors of manufacturing have also been adding to the rally. Compared to a year ago, wood products such as lumber and panelboard are up 23 per cent. Primary metal manufacturing—which would include many inputs into the energy industry—is up 32 per cent. Chemicals are higher by nine per cent.

Still, despite the impressive improvements in the value of manufacturing over the past 12 months, total shipments are still below levels of four years ago. It’s been a long road to recovery for manufacturers—and they’re not there yet.

Manufacturing shipments, graph​​​​​

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